En plein air versus the studio

April 25, 2013

From well before Elemental ended in Wangaratta on Monday (followed by the inevitable low on Tuesday) my mind has been charging up for the next push into the world around me.

These past many years, I’ve spent studio time developing work beyond initial sketches, pushing the imagery towards abstraction, untangling ideas from memory and curiosites, deepening the experience of making – for both myself and the potential viewer. And yet very often, the works that touch even the most developed art practitioners around me, are the drawings and paintings I make while physically immersed in the subject.

Winter Drawing1-small

Maybe it’s a nourishing loop – subject to painter to object to viewer to subject…

However, most of the best known and loved artworks were done in a studio. Studio practice requires the honing of skills; continuous learning about materials and conceptual development, and drawing on every virtue I was taught in my catholic upbringing! It isn’t for the faint-hearted. It enriches ability, broadens visual vocabulary, and shakes up any complacency.

And as a bonus it’s given me a new ease when I venture out into the world to look and feel and draw and paint. I love it now more than ever. It’s a banquet out there! And if you see me in my trusty red van (The Red Limo), give us a toot!



6 Responses to “En plein air versus the studio”

  1. Jos Mahon said

    love this ! beautiful drawing from your van ,it brings back memories of the lie of the land ,the dryness, the brownness!
    Keep out there in the trusty red van! do you take a flask of tea?
    I often struggle with being indoors in my studio and only usually
    settle when it is so grey and dark outside, and then i forget outdoors and have a go at pushing ideas,messing with materials, until i look up and out, a hen might be eyeing me through the glass door, saying food time?, the clouds have started to look interesting up the valley ,-the sun might be setting up the road, i look at the dog ,waiting ,watching,-walk??
    I have a van for a mobile studio too ,,very useful for putting so much in just incase you might need it.Good to draw from in strong wind!and storm.
    A challenge is what to only take in a rucksack and hike off in the hills for some ‘en plein air’ ,Then you eventually ,days/weeks later come back to unpack in the studio with sketches from where youve been so physically immersed and pin them up.Then the BIG question! studio versus en plein air!!

    • Ah Jos this is great! You get what I’m trying to say. Your push to be out in the wild is very strong. Living in towns has made me a bit soft, but the rewards of the natural world are well worth the effort. So glad you’re following this – a like mind around the planet.

  2. Yes I can only imagine! That’s also why I admire them, your determination to capture something out there, and bring it home to work with.

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